Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Border crossing to Turkey (29 August 2012)

Today we attempted our first border crossing at the Bazargan / Dogubayazit border crossing. Before we made the crossing, we stocked up on bottled water and some basic food supplies. We also fueled up - diesel is far more expensive in Turkey. There are shops selling Turkish third party insurance in Bazargan, Iran (look out for signage reading “Sigorta”), so we bought ours. 

We went through the Iranian border control at 10.30am and by 12.45pm we find ourselves on Turkish land, dismissing the not so great experience with border tout on the Iranian side. 

The clearance at the Turkish border took much longer as we were subjected to a 100% check. We had to remove all our stuff from Our Sorento. Our bags were scanned (using similar machines used at the airport). Our Sorento, now empty, was driven to a separate section and had to go through the huge scanning machine that containers lorries have to go through when they cross the border. Once the Turkish border officials are happy that we are not in possession of any contrabands (its more so as we were coming in from Iran), we were given the go ahead. It was a good experience in dealing with our first border controls. Mind you this was all done in the scorching midday sun. We did all these with lots of patience and self control, following every instructions we were given but still stood our ground where it mattered most. 

Once in Turkey, the landscape on the road to Dogubayazit  is very similar to the ones we have seen in Iran. We were warned about the roads’ lack of maintenance, we have driven on worse roads before, so this was alright for us. Except for some old bare brick buildings similar to those in Iran, most of the buildings we have seen so far have cement rendering and colourful paint. Cars in Turkey comes in a greater variety of makes and colours than in Iran. We drove on from Dogubayazit towards Agri before calling it a night. In the distance we could see the Ararat Mountain (as pointed by the younger custom officer), the location where Noah’s Ark is said to have ran aground.

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